At Glug we’re always keen to bang the drum of creatives, makers, doers, tinkerers who do things a little differently. We’ve hence put together a series called “Glug Profiles” where we’ll be highlighting people from across the Glug world with different backgrounds and from all sorts of practices! To see more Glug Profiles, check out our news section.
Full name: Mark Fleming (known as ‘Chop’)
Job title: Chief Creative Officer, Rosie Lee
Location: New York
Hi Chop! How’s it going? You having a good week so far?
For those Gluggers who’ve never heard of you, who are you and what do you do?
I’m the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Rosie Lee, a design agency with offices in London, New York, Amsterdam and Frome. We set up our studio 17 years ago on the back of work I was doing independently for Nike, and we now work for them, Beats by Dre, Uniqlo, American Eagle and Jordan Brand among others. I moved to New York to set up our American office just over a year ago now.
How did you end up doing what you’re doing now, then? Have you always dreamt of working in the creative industry, or what’s the back log here?
I grew up in Birmingham at a time when the two options that really seemed to be on offer were joining the army or working in a factory - when I told my mum I was going to be a graphic designer she asked me what a graphic designer was. Neither was for me so after finishing school I moved to London.
I owe a lot to Adrian Shaughnessy, who gave me a book called The Creative Handbook (it was basically a Yellow Pages for creative companies) when I turned up at his studio unannounced. This was pre-internet, so to be able to chat to him and have all of that information at hand was incredible - half an hour with him saved me so much time.
What do you get up to when you’re not working? Got any exciting side hustles or passions to tell us about?
Not a lot. The nature of my position means that I find myself doing something related to Rosie Lee pretty much constantly.
I also like running - Idesigned Run Dem Crew’s identity - and find it useful both for relaxation and as a creative outlet. It’s a good way of getting to know interesting people you wouldn’t usually look twice at when they’re in their business suits.
On a gloomy, totally uninspiring and day, where everything just feels like an obstacle — what do you usually resort to in order to get your inspiration back on track again?
Delegate it to my designers! There’s definitely a degree of truth to that - we’ve managed to assemble a team that are great at what they do and they all bring something exciting to projects. They are resilient and take risks, which are the things I appreciate most from a creative. I draw a lot of energy from them and from the work we do - it’s a very symbiotic relationship.
And on the opposite end — where do you usually find your inspiration in the work that you do either in your dream job or as a side hustle?
I draw a lot of inspiration from the business trips we’ve made over the past few years and the cultures I’ve experienced as a result. Places like Russia and China are really redefining a lot of things about the creative process through their desire for progress. Rarely do you see them get caught up in details like we sometimes do here.
Ok, so let’s get a bit dreamy, shall we? If you were to swap job with someone else in the creative industry, who would this be and why?
Russell, Rosie Lee’s CEO. He’s the only person I've ever met that has managed to strike a balance between home life and work, and I really admire that.
There’s definitely people in design out there that I’d love to work with but what I’m really looking for right now is that life-work balance and to spend more time with my son. I’ve not previously been a good role model in that respect but perhaps that’s what’s needed to happen to get here.
And… If you were given the opportunity to move anywhere without having to apply for any visa what-so-ever and we’d sort the packing for you — where would you go?
Before I moved to New York to set up the studio here I tried to open an office in Shanghai, but my wife wasn’t keen. There’s a real unity to both people and industry there that allows them to achieve so much, and that’s only going to become more visible in creative fields as time goes by. The projects we’ve worked on there, likeAir Max Day andNike’s Unlimited Shanghai, have allowed us to do things bigger than you can anywhere else.
Ok, and last but not least! Please give a link shout-out to 5 pieces of inspirational, or just plainly awesome, work that you’ve stumbled upon recently…
1.Mason London’s video for JME - Your CD is Dead
A bit silly but I love the humour and the way it was made. Mason, who was previously Boiler Room’s art director, wanted to create an animated video for this JME track but was afraid of getting his YouTube account taken down for copyright violations - so he did his own disco remix to skirt the rules. It shows how doing something a bit illegitimate is no barrier to quality.
2.DIA Studio’s graphics for A-Trak
The ideas are simple but they have such a big impact. The power of playfulness should never be underestimated.
3.Teenage Engineering’s OP-1
A lovely reminder of what can be achieved when software and hardware are designed to work together in tandem. The OP-1 was made with such ridiculous passion and care that I am desperate for one despite having no idea how to actually use it.
4.Tate Modern’s Switch House by Herzog and De Meuron
The state of evolution that London seems always to be in has amazed me since I first moved there. Switch House is a really nicely executed example of how iconic designs don’t need to stand still.
5.Maxime Brunelle’s art direction for Red Bull Music Academy Montréal
I really enjoyed the style and execution of this campaign from last year. It’s a good example of how a good idea can be applied to loads of formats but still stay fresh.